How to avoid parking lot stress during the holiday season
Looking for that perfect gift, or hosting a holiday party? Although it’s said to be the most wonderful time of the year, the holidays can also be really stressful. Especially if you’ve missed the deadline for online shopping and now need to go out to a brick-and-mortar store to finish up those last few errands. But, before you get caught up in the hustle and bustle, check out these tips for navigating the parking lot stress-free.
11 tips for safe parking:

1. Arrive early. Plan to be at the store as soon as it opens and before the rush of other shoppers. By going first thing, there should be less traffic to contend with both in the store and in the parking lot.

2. Check availability. Some malls have electronic signs at their entrances to let you know which parking lots have the most spaces available. By heading over to an emptier lot, you’ll be able to find a spot quicker and avoid parking lot circles.

3. Be willing to park a little further away. We understand wanting to park as close to the front as you can – it’s all about getting in and getting out as quickly as possible. But this is also where there is a lot of traffic, both vehicles and pedestrians alike. Parking further away will likely give you more options when it comes to parking spots and may even allow you to get out of the parking lot faster than you expected.

4. Know when to walk away. If you’ve been part of a parking spot standoff, you’re not alone. Although you may have been there first, it’s not worth getting angry – there are other spots out there, trust us.

5. Follow directions. Abide by any signs posted in the parking lot, such as speed limits, no entry and stop signs. This also includes painted directional arrows – you don’t want to be the driver going the wrong way and causing a traffic jam.

6. Slow and steady wins the race. A slow driving speed in the parking lot gives you more time to react to any unexpected events, like that run-away cart.

7. Use your signals. Pedestrians and other drivers can’t read your mind. Be sure to use your signals whenever you’re making turns.

8. Pay attention. We all know that distracted driving is dangerous. Pay attention to your surroundings as you search for a parking spot. This includes not playing with your radio, using your phone, or eating or drinking.

9. Park with your car facing out. Whether it be reversing into a spot or finding a pull-though, this means you won’t need to back out of the spot later on. This also means that you’ll be better able to see anything coming your way when leaving.

10. Go with valet parking. Did you know that some malls offer valet parking? If you’re really looking to save on time and stress, it may be worth it to pay someone else to park your car for you.

11. Take public transit. Okay, so this isn’t exactly a parking tip. However, if you’re not planning a big haul, taking public transportation will mean you won’t have to worry about parking at all. (Plus, it’s better for the environment.)

What should I do if I’m in a parking lot accident?

If you’re ever in a parking lot accident, you’ll follow the same steps as if you were in a car accident anywhere else on the road.

After any accident, you’ll want to be sure to protect your vehicle from any further damage and inform your insurance provider of what happened. Depending on the severity of damages or injuries, you may need to contact the police. If your vehicle was involved in a hit and run, report the incident to the police within 24 hours in order for it to qualify as a not at-fault accident when it comes to your insurance.

Try to collect as much information as possible, including the make, model and license plate numbers of the vehicles involved; driver license information; insurance details; witness information; and photos of the scene. Also, note down where the accident took place, at what time and the conditions at the scene.

TIP: On the back of your pink slip, you can find recommended steps to follow if you’re in an accident. You can also reference this checklist of things to do after an accident.
Does a parking lot accident impact my insurance?

Although a parking ticket won’t impact your auto insurance rate (but you should still always park legally!), an accident in a parking lot may affect your premium. If it will or won’t depends on if you’re found at-fault, partially at-fault, or not at-fault for the accident (and if you have accident forgiveness).

Avoid the parking lot all together. Get an auto quote online.